Graduate school courses in the US


Dear all,

I am carrying out a PhD in Germany. Here we do not have any courses (or a few extremely easy ones). I know that the US PhD students have to undergo a rigorous coursework. I feel that I am not up to the mark comparatively as far as theoretical knowledge goes. I would really appreciate it if you can share what topics you learnt in the field of Biological Sciences (Developmental Biology, Neuroscience, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology) and which books you referred to. I will need to study on my own otherwise by the time I finish my PhD I will have a very low self-esteem...


The US students seem to be learning things specific to their field rather than general biology stuff. If you find the core text books in your field and read those you can't go far wrong.

For example, if they are working in virology and human health, they will be taking those classes. They won't be taking classes on general cell biology etc as it will be assumed these will have been covered in undergrad.

You are correct though - they have a much higher level of knowledge in comparison to us European students. I share your levels of inadequacy.


Thanks TreeofLife! That's a great advice.